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Thread: Before Writing

  1. #1

    Before Writing

    What are the earliest precursors of your novelistic ambitions?

    When I was a youngster--around six, seven, and eight years old--I'd carry around a manilla folder containing hundreds of sheets of paper. These papers would contain schematics for FPS games and extensive lists of game elements. Opponents and their HP, attack, weapons, etc. Items and weapons and tools, replete with quixotic properties. And so on.

    I don't have it around right now. One day I might sift through crates of old stuff and try to find it. Nevertheless, here's what a small section of a map would look like:


  2. #2
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    I've always written stories. I used to get an adult to cut up pieces of A4 into book-sized pages and sew or staple them together once I'd written my stories onto them. With crayon illustrations too, of course.

    I've never wanted to do anything other than write, and I never considered any medium other than novels.

    I've written two novellas in the past few months, but they were to fill slots my editors already had open for collections/anthologies. My natural leaning has always been towards the longer form, though.

    Oh, plus, I was the geeky kid who made up her own storybooks in unlined writing pads. (You know, once I decided I was too good for home-bound publishing...) I'd take them in to show my teachers at school and won prizes for my ingenuity and storytelling.

    My artwork, however, left a lot to be desired.

  3. #3
    please distract me mccardey's Avatar
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    I was threatened with excommunication for a story I wrote when I was six. I wish I remembered it. I remember the thrashing I got.

    The next story I wrote was decidedly anodyne. I still remember knowing that I was the only one who realised it was a send-up. Which kind of delighted me
    Last edited by mccardey; 02-13-2012 at 11:06 AM. Reason: whatever

  4. #4
    Loves interplanetary chaos. Brutal Mustang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scarletpeaches View Post
    I've always written stories. I used to get an adult to cut up pieces of A4 into book-sized pages and sew or staple them together once I'd written my stories onto them. With crayon illustrations too, of course.

    I've never wanted to do anything other than write, and I never considered any medium other than novels.

    I've written two novellas in the past few months, but they were to fill slots my editors already had open for collections/anthologies. My natural leaning has always been towards the longer form, though.

    Oh, plus, I was the geeky kid who made up her own storybooks in unlined writing pads. (You know, once I decided I was too good for home-bound publishing...) I'd take them in to show my teachers at school and won prizes for my ingenuity and storytelling.

    My artwork, however, left a lot to be desired.
    I did much of the same. Though, my artwork was pretty damn good.
    "And enough with the metaphors, alright? That's an order." -James T. Kirk

  5. #5
    Not as sweet as you think Aggy B.'s Avatar
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    When I was seven or so I started writing one page (single spaced) novels. At least, I thought they were novels. In retrospect they probably had enough plot for a novel but not much else.

    And they were mysteries. Which I never write anymore. Go figure.
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  6. #6
    Zombie lovin' elindsen's Avatar
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    I've always written, but started with songs/poetry


  7. #7
    Worst song played on ugliest guitar Libbie's Avatar
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    I've always written stories. I used to write and illustrate picture books and then staple all the pages together when I was little.

    In high school I wrote an extensive, in-jokey "Choose Your Own Adventure" book featuring the entire band. It was very popular. Got passed around a lot. People still remember that thing, too. They ask me about it on Facebook all the time. And yes, I still have it.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW Springs's Avatar
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    When I was really little I would make picture books, typed or handwritten with crayon illustrations and construction paper covers. In about third grade I started writing "novels," which were anywhere from 8-40 chapters apiece. The chapters were only a page or two long each, poorly formatted, and lacking in pretty much everything that a good book should have (my mother later described them as lists in prose form). I stopped writing for a couple years in middle school, picked it back up again in high school with poetry, and since college started actually began writing books that aren't terrible (let's loosely define terrible, shall we?).
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  9. #9
    Finestkind underthecity's Avatar
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    The earliest story I remember writing was when I was in kindergarten. All I can remember about the story was the main character carried an object shaped like a telephone pole (hand-held size). Wish I still had it.

    Sometime when I was in grade school I had a paperback copy of Will Eisner's cartoon collection called Star Jaws, a book of single-panel cartoons inspired by Star Wars and other sci-fi.

    Inspired by Snoopy in the Peanuts strips, I drew a booklet of (probably really bad) single panel cartoons inspired by Star Jaws and would you believe I actually submitted it to (I think) Scholastic, same publisher of Star Jaws.

    Sometime later I got a really nice letter from the editors thanking me for the submission, but it wasn't something they were looking for. IIRC, it was not a form letter. I wish I still had it.

    It was my first rejection letter. I couldn't have been older than nine.


    ETA: I read this the next day and saw I used "inspired by" three times. This inspires me to re-read my comments before posting.
    Last edited by underthecity; 02-11-2012 at 09:21 PM.
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  10. #10
    A Gentleman of a refined age... thothguard51's Avatar
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    By time I was ten years old I was drawing my own comics and penning the stories. Most of them were based on superhero and Mad Magazine stuff. My mom and dad encouraged me, so its their fault. I used to go around the neighborhood and try to sell them to the neighbors for five cents. Does that mean I am published?
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  11. #11
    fluently sarcastic grandma offender ladyleeona's Avatar
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    When I was 4 or 5 I started writing and illustrating little stories. Most of the time I'd do them on blank notecards and then stitch them together with pretty ribbon.

    I still have one of them, actually. It's called Sheila, and it's about a native american girl and some wolves. (How she got the name Sheila is anyone's guess.) I was terribly dedicated to those characters, because later I followed up with Sheila 2.

    Although that sequel, like many others, suffered from the second-novel slump and was lost along the wayside.
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  12. #12
    Rogues, thieves, and knaves abound Isilya's Avatar
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    I wrote until the end of high school then stopped for a while.

    It wasn't until my fiance asked me to write him a short story did I start writing again. And I haven't stopped since.
    "I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself." ~ D H Lawrence, "Self-Pity"

  13. #13
    ~~~~*~~~~ backslashbaby's Avatar
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    I made up interesting stories to tell my friends and had them enthralled, which I really liked. Unfortunately, that's called being a big, fat liar, and that caused some problems after a certain age! It took a few years before I realized that you could just write them down and hand them to people to read
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  14. #14
    I eat clowns.
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    I've been writing stories and poems since pre-school. If I wasn't writing (or songwriting), I was singing or playing an instrument. If I wasn't doing something in music, I was painting or drawing.

    I'm always been an "artsy" person with scientific-minded parents. So naturally, I studied "practical" things in school that would make me money down the road. Today I use writing as a "hobby" but it would sure be nice to make it big one day. In the meantime, I'm not quitting my day job!

  15. #15
    Let's proceed with the plan cara's Avatar
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    My twin sister and myself (when we were about 4-6) would write short books with each other (usually one would write and one would illustrate, or we'd do separate pages) and we even cut them into little folded books! I've actually got some at home somewhere
    We also used to make small comic strips together and with one of our friends when we were a bit older. Then we did webcomics and now we're both working on our writing (She's much further ahead than me and very talented and hard working, so I need to catch up XD)

  16. #16
    Caped Codder jaksen's Avatar
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    I wrote stories on that large-space, lined paper you have in Kindergarten. (I was four at the time.) And I held myself to a serious word count. Every story had to fit on ONE piece of that paper. So the word count for each story was about 12.

    I wish I had that discipline today.
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  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW amschilling's Avatar
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    I used to pretend to write books before I could even read. I just loved them so much that it never crossed my mind that I couldn't or wouldn't write them, too. I wrote my fingers off until my twenties and then took an extended break for "real life," I guess. I didn't get back into it until I had my daughter. She became my little muse.
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  18. #18
    FREAKING OUT! Domino Derval's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mccardey View Post
    I was threatened with excommunication for a story I wrote when I was six. I wish I remembered it. I remember the thrashing I got.
    What was it about?

  19. #19
    Absorbing inspiration from the moon laurie17's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cara View Post
    My twin sister and myself (when we were about 4-6) would write short books with each other (usually one would write and one would illustrate, or we'd do separate pages) and we even cut them into little folded books! I've actually got some at home somewhere
    We also used to make small comic strips together and with one of our friends when we were a bit older. Then we did webcomics and now we're both working on our writing (She's much further ahead than me and very talented and hard working, so I need to catch up XD)
    We also wrote a game idea each and sent it to Nintendo when we were 8. Unfortunately, both were rejected (I'm sure it was only because they didn't accept subs from outside the company ) but we got a load of cool stuff from them (like posters and keyrings!). My first rejection was definitely my nicest.
    (And I'm not more talented.)
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  20. #20
    please distract me mccardey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Domino Derval View Post
    What was it about?
    I suspect it was along the lines of a priest and a nun having a baby just like our new baby at home.

    I would have meant it quite nicely...

  21. #21
    figuring it all out
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    I remember writing stories in kindergarten, about bunnies I think. There was a whole series. After that I only wrote poetry and lyrics until two months ago when I started writing flash fiction for contests over at writing.com

    Once people convinced me it was good stuff and they like my style, I started on my first novel. 12k words later I am loving it and cannot imagine stopping any time soon. Especially now that I have a typewriter =) I feel very nostalgic typing away on my Smith Corona Super Sterling.
    WIP - The Candidate of Tegea



  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by mccardey View Post
    I was threatened with excommunication for a story I wrote when I was six. I wish I remembered it. I remember the thrashing I got.
    Six? You were well into adulthood. So I'm assuming it was doggie church and not your parents.


  23. #23
    Horror Man seun's Avatar
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    I started off with short stories as a kid, began taking them seriously when I was about 14 and kept at them. I wrote my first book when I was 21.

    I can't remember ever not either writing or wanting to write.

  24. #24
    DenturePunk writer bearilou's Avatar
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    Board games. I was always trying to create board games. Dabbled a little in writing. Then stopped both for a long time.

    I entertain secret dreams of being considered an art genius even though my art skills are stick figure level. Writing may be the better way for me to go.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
    The first draft is a huge pile of clay that you've laboriously heaped on your table, patting it into a rough shape as you go along. From the second draft onward, you'll cut away chunks, add bits, pat and punch and pinch, until you finally have a gorgeous figure of, oh, Marcus Aurelius. Or a duck. But a damn fine duck.
    Quote Originally Posted by KTC View Post
    1) Write like your face is on fire.


  25. #25
    Not a new kid folkchick's Avatar
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    Yesterday I found an almost completed novel from my angst-filled days. I read through it a bit and was surprised by how bad it wasn't—though it was far from being good.

    I wrote a children's book about a mermaid (ala George Macdonald) in junior high, tons of poetry—one spring break I spent the entire week on a brother and sister YA using alternating voice every other chapter (including illustrations!). In high school I wrote a lot of supernatural, ghostly stuff. Then I got into writing lyrics because I fell in love with a dead rock star. Now I do it all.
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